Finally – I should mention that this was a post that wrote right at the start of the school year, but only now am I getting around to creating the actual blog and publishing it. We are seven weeks into the school year. That’s pretty indicative of the intensity of the work thus far – but there’s some good stuff coming in the next couple of blogs.
First – about the name of the blog. It’s not “Ed.” as in “Edward” or “Edwin”, but Ed as in “Education”. The blog title is perhaps audacious, but we need audacity.
We are two teachers, embarking on an endeavor that’s simultaneously risky and (I hope) exhilarating. And when I say risky, I’m not kidding. I’ve left a job with the New TechNetwork as a School Development Coach, to come back to the classroom to teach Seniors at nex+Gen Academy in Albuquerque NM.
After five years of working with principals and teachers, beating the drum of Project Based Learning, positive school culture, and smart use of technology, I am now feeling the pressure to put my action where my rhetoric has been. They might not say so, but I get the feeling that some of my colleagues at NTN are watching. Also, I’ve missed teaching terribly – it would be a bummer if it isn’t as good as I remember. Heh.
My teaching partner, Megan, is upending her life, moving to Albuquerque, and teaching with a new partner, in a new school, with a population she’s just becoming familiar with.
All for what? We’ve laid out a challenge for ourselves regarding this coming year. The school is now in its third year of existence, and we are assigned as the core teachers for a rather small Senior class – only large enough to justify two core teachers, and part of an elective teacher’s time. Nex+Gen is part of the New Tech Network of schools, (of which there are about 100 across the country) where the schools focus on fostering enduring skills of their students, employ Project Based Learning, and attend to school culture very carefully. At nex+Gen, all the students are issued laptops, but like other NT schools, the computer is only a tool; most learning is done collaboratively.
At nex+Gen, I will be the teacher of record for Statistics and Ecobiology, and Megan will be the teacher of record for Econ, Gov’t, and English. I use the phrase “teacher of record”, because our plan is to blur the boundaries of our teaching assignments. We intend to teach a series of projects where all the content – math, science, social studies, English, and maybe even digital media – are integrated in the projects. I have described it to others as Projects-Not-Classes. We’ll have the same group of seniors all day. Megan’s description is more apt, I think. She says, “It’s like elementary school, for seniors”.
This blog is meant to be chronicle, sounding board, and sharing space. This year is experimental, so intrepid we must be, and I want to record what we do. I’ll be posting some of our thinking, planning, philosophizing about education, etc etc etc, all in service of creating and teaching this course. These courses? See? We already need to adjust our colloquialisms.
Maybe I should rename the blog, “The Year of Adjustments”.